KUCHING: Only 7 per cent of workers nationwide in private sectors that are unionised are registered as union members.
Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Samarahan Economics Department senior lecturer Dr Nurhani Aba Ibrahim said it is vital for workers to register so that they can voice out their interests on the matter of minimum wage.
“The workers need to realise they have workers’ bargaining power, they will not have that power if they do not form a union. They cannot act on their own, so they need to work collectively among themselves,” she said during the Brown Bag Talk ‘The Implementation of Minimum Wages in Malaysia — Issues and Challenges’ on Thursday.
It was organised by the Sarawak Development Institute (SDI) to shed light on the concept behind statutory minimum wage policy and its application in Malaysia.
Nurhani, who has been a National Wage Consultative Council of Malaysia technical committee member since 2011, said implementing the minimum wage policy would be a challenge if workers are not registered and unionised.
“We do know that there are still some firms that have yet to implement the minimum wage.
So if they have the union, the union can fight for them,” she said.
Nurhani said among the objectives of implementing minimum wage are to ensure the basic needs of workers and their families are met, to provide sufficient social protection for workers and reduce the nation’s dependence on unskilled foreign labour.
The minimum wage was introduced on Jan 1, 2013 but only implemented in January last year at RM900 a month in Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 in Sabah and Sarawak.
It must be reviewed once in two years under the Minimum Wage Order 2012.